Science Fair Media Presentation

By: Akhil Donapati

Problem

The effectiveness of Antioxidants on plants has not been experimented.

Research

Research shows that an Antioxidant is a group of chemical compounds that prevent cell damage. Antioxidants prevent oxidation, a chemical reaction where a substance loses electrons and oxygen. Antioxidants also protect cells from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are created by oxidation. Free radicals may be involved in the process of aging, and may cause other diseases. Some of these diseases include cancer, heart disease, and cataracts. Cells produce free radicals when oxygen mixes with food molecules to produce energy. Free radicals sometimes lose electrons from the process of oxidation. To replace these electrons, they “steal” electrons from any near molecules. This can be harmful to the body. Antioxidants help by providing electrons to the free radicals. Antioxidants can come from several places. Some antioxidants several places. Some Antioxidants are provided by the body. Antioxidants can come from several places. Some Antioxidants are provided by the body. They are created naturally by the body to provide for some of the Free Radicals. Antioxidants can also be found in everyday foods. Vitamin C and E are antioxidants. A good source of Vitamin C is citrus fruits. Vitamin E is usually found in vegetable oils, and nuts. Some plant chemicals are also antioxidants. Some examples of these are carotenoids and flavonoids. Foods plentiful in the plant chemical carotene are usually colored in a deep yellow or green. These plants include carrots or spinach. Flavonoids can be found in fruits or vegetables. A common, healthy source of Antioxidants is fruits and vegetables. Berries are very plentiful in Antioxidants. Antioxidants are not only used for health purposes. Synthetic antioxidants are a different type of Antioxidants that are used for commercial purposes. Synthetic Antioxidants work the same way that Natural Antioxidants work. Synthetic Antioxidants help to prevent oxidation in rubber and gasoline. Synthetic Antioxidants can also be used to prevent oxidation in other products. 4 commonly used Synthetic Antioxidants are butylated hydroxanisole, butylated hydroxytolvene, ethoxyquin, and propyl gallate. While Natural Antioxidants can be reused, Synthetic Antioxidants cannot be reused. Once a Synthetic Antioxidant has provided it’s electron to the free radical, it is turned in to a harmful metabolic byproduct. These byproducts do not decrease in amount over time, but they rather increase. This creates oxidative stress on the organism. This shows that Synthetic Antioxidants have a harmful effect on the human body. The oxidative stress that the Synthetic Antioxidants cause can be a reason for many diseases. An example of this is oxidative damaged glucose and protein molecules. This can lead to cataracts. Oxidative damaged cell membranes can also lead to disease. No research has been done yet on the effects of antioxidants on plants.

Hypothesis

If a normal water solution and a natural antioxidant water solution are added to 5 plants each every day, then the natural antioxidant solution will help the plants grow the tallest, because the natural antioxidants donate an electron, and are moved into an efficient recycling system which will help keep the cell safe.

Materials

1. 1 bottle of Super Antioxidants Vitamins

2. 1 bag of Spinach seeds

3. 10 15.24 plastic Terra Cotta Roll Rim Planters

4. Water

5. 1 bag of Miracle Gro Soil

6. 1 paper cup

7. 1 ruler

8. 1 pair of garden gloves

9. 1 sharpie

10. 1 kitchen knife

Procedures

Vitamin Selection Procedures-

1. With a parent, go to a pharmacy or vitamin shop (Vitamin Shoppe is recommended)

2. Go to the Antioxidant aisle

3. Find a Natural Antioxidant bottle.

4. Make sure that the bottle has the label “Fights against Free Radicals”.

5. Purchase the bottle.

Planting and Feeding Procedures-

1. Place the pots about outside 5 inches apart from each other in a 2X5 array.

2. Move the pots to a different location if they can be disturbed by humans or animals.

3. Make sure the pots are on a flat surface.

4. Make sure all of the plants are under the sunlight and none of them are in the shade.

5. Skip steps #5-8 if you do not have a Sharpie.

6. With a Sharpie, label Pot #1 with Antioxidant Solution and Pot #1 below.

7. Repeat these steps for Pots #2-5, labeling them with their corresponding pot number.

8. With a Sharpie, label Pot #6 with Water Solution and Pot #6 below.

9. Repeat step #8 with Pots #7-10.

10. Open Miracle Grow Soil bag.

11. Fill the soil to the closest indention to the top on the inside of the pot in Pot #1.

12. Repeat these steps for Plants #2-10.

13. Open the Spinach Seeds Bag.

14. Look below for Sow Lines procedures if you want Sow Lines.

15. If not using Sow Lines, then make a hole in the middle edge of the pot and make a line across the dirt in Plant #1.

16. Repeat step #15 for Plants #2-10.

17. Distribute about 5-10 seeds evenly across Plant #1.

18. Repeat step #17 for Plants #2-10.

19. Cover the seeds in Plant #1 with the excess dirt that was pushed aside when you created the lines.

20. Repeat these steps for Plants #2-10.

21. Fill the paper cup with water.

22. Pour the water into Plant #5.

23. Repeat these steps for Plants #6-10.

24. If you have solid vitamin tablets, then see the procedures below on how to crush them.

25. Open Super Antioxidant Vitamins bottle.

26. Take 5 tablets from the bottle.

27. Fill the paper cup with water.

28. Take one tablet.

29. Place one finger on the left side of the indention in the middle of the tablet.

30. Place one finger on the right side of the indention in the middle of the tablet.

31. Twist the plastic covering so that it opens like a capsule.

32. Empty the powder that was inside the plastic covering into the water in the plastic cup.

33. Shake the cup so the powder will mix easily.

34. Wait until the water turns a yellow-orange color.

35. Pour the antioxidant solution into Pot #1.

36. Repeat steps #27-35 with Pots #2-5.

37. Wash hands thoroughly after feeding plants for health concerns.

38. Repeat steps #27-37 every day for 20 days at 5:30 in the evening

39. Repeat steps #21-23 every day for 20 days at 5:30 in the evening.

40. Use a new paper cup every feeding day, so that any leftover antioxidant water will not be mixed into any other solution.

Sow Lines Procedures-

1. From the edge of Pot #1 measure 13.97 cm.

2. Adjust the section that you measured and move it to the middle.

3. At the 0 cm. mark make a hole 1.27 cm. deep into the soil.

4. Drag your finger across to make a line that is perpendicular to the ruler.

5. Repeat step #4 at the 13.97 cm. mark.

6. Repeat steps #1-4 with Pots #2-10.

7. Distribute 5-10 seeds in each Sow Line for Pot #1.

8. Repeat step #7 with Pots #2-10.

9. Use the excess soil that was pushed aside to cover the seeds in Pot#1.

10. Repeat step #9 for Pots #2-10.

11. Refer back to Planting and Feeding Procedures step #21 to continue the experiment.

Vitamin Crushing Procedures-

1. Perform steps 2-8 with parent supervision.

2. Open the Antioxidant Bottle.

3. Take 5 vitamins from the bottle.

4. Place 1 vitamin in the paper cup.

5. Place the bottom of the knife on the vitamin.

6. Carefully push down on the vitamin and crush it.

7. Continue this process until the vitamin is completely crushed and is powder.

8. Fill the paper cup with water.

9. Continue at step number 33 in the Planting and Feeding procedures to continue the experiment.

Purpose

The purpose of this experiment is to experiment the hypothesis that adding antioxidants to plants affects their growth.

Data

Days

Water Solution

Antioxidants Solution

1 0 0


2 0 0


3 0 0


4 0 0


5 0 0


6 0 0


7 0 0


8 0 0


9 0 0.1

10 0.2 0.4


11 0.7 0.6


12 1.3 1.4


13 1.6 1.9


14 2.1 2.4


15 2.8 3.1


16 3.5 3.2


17 4.2 4.1


18 4.3 4.4


19. 4.8 5


20 5.4 5.6

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Analysis

I was exempt from this portion of the lab report, as the way that I collected my data shows that most of the functions in the statistical analysis portion will not work.

Calculations

Mean- 5.4/5.6

Slope/Rate- 4.5/17= 0.265

% Change- 600 %

Observations

Something that may present opportunity for a future project is one of the observations I made. I noticed while experimenting, that, there was a noticeable distinction between how the normally watered plants and the antioxidant-fed plants grew. When looking at the base of the plant’s structure, I noticed that the water fed plants seemed to wobble or looks flimsy. However, when looking at the antioxidant – fed plant, the base of the plants seemed to be more study and rigid than that of the water fed plant. The advantages of this are still unknown, but this presents some potential for a future project.

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Variables

Dependent Variable- Height of the plants

Independent Variable- The type of water that the plants are fed with

Control Group- The group of plants that is fed with normal water

Experimental Group- The group of plants that is fed with the antioxidant water

Constants-

1. Type of Seeds

2. Type of Pots

3. Exposure to light

4. Amount of water

5. Type of soil

Conclusion

In my hypothesis, I claimed that the Antioxidant fed plants would grow faster than the water fed plants. The evidence or data in the experiment fluctuated slightly between each of the plants. The end difference of 0.2 centimeters is not significant enough to make a conclusion that the antioxidants made a significant impact on the growth of the plants. In the end, my hypothesis, or claim was proven wrong, as the Antioxidants did not have a significant effect on the growth of the plants. The reasoning for the hypothesis being proven wrong, was that Antioxidants do not have the same effects on plants that it does in humans. Another reason for the disproven hypothesis may have been a faulty form of experimentation.

Sources of Error

A possible source of error, is the mistake of reusing the same cup used to feed the antioxidant plant with the normal water plant. Though the cup was washed, this may have skewed the data a little bit. Also, placing the pots on the slanted surface of the participant’s backyard may have caused one of the pots to block some of the sunlight from the other plant. This may have caused for a skew in the data. Also, when cutting the Antioxidant pill open, a slip of hand could have spilled some of the powder, or gave a plant too much powder, which could have skewed results. These are all possible sources of error.

Application

The background research that was made in this shows that antioxidants can help to increase life expectancy, and prevent fatal diseases in humans. The application to real life in this instance, is experimenting with whether these effects translate over to plants. The effects of antioxidants on plants could revolutionize the agriculture sector, and create a solution to productive farming. The effects of antioxidants on plants has not been studied yet, and the effects of antioxidants could have an enormous impact on the world.

Improvement

One main source of error may have been the lack of potency of the antioxidants. Giving the plants more than one pill, may have shown an effect on the plant, and shown that antioxidants, do, in fact have an effect on plants. Also, the experimentation had taken place in a 20 day span, which may not have been enough to show the full effects of the Antioxidants in the later stages of the development of the plant. Other than these two things, there could not have been any improvements in the experiment.